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10-Centimeter Single-Celled Organisms Photographed 6 Miles Underwater

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the beware-the-leviathan dept.

Science 134

New submitter roat35 tips news that researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have used Dropcam — a relatively small, glass-walled device containing an HD camera — to make videos of lifeforms that exist in the Mariana Trench, more than six miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. One of the more interesting organisms at those depths is the Xenophyophore, a creature which, despite being single-celled, can grow to be over 10 centimeters wide. "Scientists say xenophyophores are the largest individual cells in existence. Recent studies indicate that by trapping particles from the water, xenophyophores can concentrate high levels of lead, uranium and mercury and are thus likely highly resistant to large doses of heavy metals. They also are well suited to a life of darkness, low temperature and high pressure in the deep sea."

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Heavy metals? (4, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824324)

I can't be the only one thinking that an organism that is simple and can absorb heavy metals sounds almost too good to be true. Sounds like something that *could* be easy (in relative terms) to genetically modify for cleaning up toxic areas.

Yes, I know, what could possibly go wrong...

Re:Heavy metals? (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824422)

I can't be the only one thinking that an organism that is simple and can absorb heavy metals sounds almost too good to be true. Sounds like something that *could* be easy (in relative terms) to genetically modify for cleaning up toxic areas.

My neighbour's teenager absorbs great quantities of heavy metal every day (to the dismay of the entire neighborhood), doesn't seem to possess an IQ much higher than a single cell organism, lives in a toxic area he calls his "bedroom", and I can guarantee you no amount of genetic engineering is likely to convince him to clean it...

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824672)

You sound like a riot. Hopefully the neighbour won't take a shit on your lawn :(

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37828370)

Nobody wants to hear your fucking music.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828940)

Same could be said of Hip-hop or rap. But we don't go around screaming that all listeners are drug-using, car-stealing idiots.

I at least have yet to meet a heavy-metal listener using his phone's speaker to "listen" to music.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825168)

Can you recall the exact moment you morphed into a caricature from an 80s comedy movie, or did it happen gradually?

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826574)

I can't be the only one thinking that an organism that is simple and can absorb heavy metals sounds almost too good to be true. Sounds like something that *could* be easy (in relative terms) to genetically modify for cleaning up toxic areas.

My neighbour's teenager absorbs great quantities of heavy metal every day (to the dismay of the entire neighborhood), doesn't seem to possess an IQ much higher than a single cell organism, lives in a toxic area he calls his "bedroom", and I can guarantee you no amount of genetic engineering is likely to convince him to clean it...

What you don't seem to understand is that heavy metal music was written by people with very high IQ's as a way to hack young minds into annoying the shit out of people like yourself.

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37829320)

but... only minds with very low IQ can be hacked to propagate this annoying stuff

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829216)

Funny that: "College students whose musical preferences are alternative, rock or heavy metal actually obtain higher IQ test scores on average, particularly on questions where abstraction is required (Walker & Kreiner, 2006)."

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37829544)

Metalheads getting so worked up over a generic joke about teenagers make me wonder if it was a close hit.

Re:Heavy metals? (4, Interesting)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824450)

How would we go about genetically modifying it to not require 6 miles of water ontop of it?

Generally deep sea stuff tends to explode once we bring it up due to pressure differential.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824584)

Good point, for sure, but the real question is, does it require 6 miles, could it be cloned above water (we are talking single cell, and we have done sheep, dogs, etc.). The main thing that makes my ears perk up is the fact that it is such a simple organism, the odds of us being able to figure it out is much higher.

Maybe not, but an interesting organism nonetheless, and at the least, there is something we can likely learn from it. I would bet some company somewhere is asking the same question. When the potential reward is that high, you have to ask the question.

Re:Heavy metals? (4, Funny)

robmv (855035) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824868)

Easy, lets dump the contaminated material on the sea and call it food for Xenophyophores

Re:Heavy metals? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825426)

The explodyness is just to simple issues of partial pressures of gas. Just an extreme case of the bends. All you need to do is drag the thing up very slowly - trap it in a cage, put cage on rope, wheel it up over the course of weeks. Still might not survive - it's biochemistry may have evolved to function properly only at very high pressures - but at least it won't explode.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828270)

Well, for vertebrates it is more complex than that. Those lipids that line your cells? The ones that have just the right viscosity at the pressure you live at? How do they behave at depth?

How do lipids that are fluid enough to function within a single-celled organism at depth (>15,000 psi) behave when they are brought up to our measly ~14psi?

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829708)

Unknown. Try it, find out. But it still won't explode. It'll just melt.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829508)

Yes, but as the pressure gets lower, it necessarily get larger until you have

The BLOB!!!

Beware of The Blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of The Blob

{G} - Pug

Re:Heavy metals? (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825572)

>> How would we go about genetically modifying it to not require 6 miles of water ontop of it?

We could mate it with a Giraffe. Those don't have to be underwater to live.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

ancienthart (924862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829506)

Interesting to contemplate how you're going to get the two of them together. :D

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829342)

Generally deep sea stuff tends to explode once we bring it up due to pressure differential.

Only if you bring it up quickly. There's no problem if you give the dissolved gases time to escape.

Re:Heavy metals? (2)

nomel (244635) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824772)

Removal and disposal of the now, toxic, organisms is the problem...

They do this with the common water hyacinth. It's great for cleaning up heavy metals and many chemicals, but then you have many thousands of lbs of heavy, wet, plants to remove and do something with before they eventually die, decompose, and release everything back into the water.

Re:Heavy metals? (4, Informative)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824910)

No, you missed the best part: its waste product is 50% pure gold, 50% unicorn rainbow.

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825220)

Removal isn't terribly difficult. All we would need to do is release cages of these things. When it's time, pull the cages up, dispose of the bodies, release a new cage. You'll lose some out of the cage but overall the toxins would be removed.

I'm more worried about the environmental impact on fish. Plankton and bacteria will start eating these things full of heavy metals. Then they will be eaten by fish and then bigger fish and you'll have fish that are eating concentrations of heavy metals instead of swimming in some parts per million of heavy metal. Instead of losing 50% of a clutch you'd lose generations worth of fish.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825338)

Monsanto has genetically engineered several of its seeds to be resistant to Roundup. Maybe Monsanto could ask some its folks to adapt hyacinth to make some kind of container like a gourd or coconut? Object would be to have the plant store its gathered heavy metals in there, then harvest the stuff maybe wearing a Bio-Suit? Because that stuff will be nastier than nasty.

Re:Heavy metals? (5, Funny)

funkboy (71672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825530)

Maybe Monsanto could ask some its folks to adapt hyacinth to make some kind of container like a gourd or coconut? Object would be to have the plant store its gathered heavy metals in there, then harvest the stuff maybe wearing a Bio-Suit?

Maybe we could just have Monsanto executives eat the heavy metals directly & save the rest of the world a lot of trouble...

Re:Heavy metals? (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826954)

starting with lead and copper

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828290)

Cadmium and Mercury. Then thallium. We don't want those floating around in the environment.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828672)

I think you missed the point. GP was referring to giving 'em the 9mm cure, a course i heartily agree with.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829074)

9mm? Come on, at least a .45! If its worth doing, its worth doing well...

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826986)

Maybe it would be cool to have the gourds or coconuts break off after absorbing the toxins, and then float to the surface. They could be harvested more easily...maybe.

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37827956)

Yes and no. It isn't so simple to just add something as complex as a fruit structure using genetic engineering. For now and likely for a long time to come that remains the domain of movies. However, there are GE plants that are designed with bioremediation in mind (sunflowers and maybe brassicas IIRC) so it isn't that implausible, you'd just collect the whole plant, not something that it produced. And the case of the Round-Up resistance happened because they identified the mode of action of Roundup's active ingredient and were able to add a bacterial version of the protein that the roundup gunked up to the plant, so that non-GE plant's version of the protein was inhibited, but the GE ones had the bacterial version as a backup, so they could survive while other plants died. I don't think it would be so 'easy' to do the same for heavy metals, although I'm sure there's some way. My point is that those are pretty different scenarios. For anything major though you'd be best off not using genetic engineering. Not because there's anything wrong with it mind you, but if you go that route you have to go through years of idiotic protests and luddites getting in your way and unscientific regulations and put up with the constant risk that some moron trashes your now toxic plants (and then when said moron gets sick it makes the farmers who grow GE crops look bad because these idiots can't distinguish one GMO from another)....messy stuff that if you need something cleaned up you are better off avoiding.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827126)

This is relatively easy to solve, though. You put them in a bio-bag and get methane out. The heavy metals accumulate at the bottom. Or you can grind them up and use AIWPS to turn them into methane and algae.

Re:Heavy metals? (4, Insightful)

robotkid (681905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824790)

I can't be the only one thinking that an organism that is simple and can absorb heavy metals sounds almost too good to be true. Sounds like something that *could* be easy (in relative terms) to genetically modify for cleaning up toxic areas.

Yes, I know, what could possibly go wrong...

There are actually lots of microbes that metabolize and break down toxic wastes. Typically they are found simply by digging into a pile of hazardous waste and seeing what is growing there. The problem is that these organisms don't have to be particularly fast or efficient to defend their niche, they just need to survive where other's can't, so in their natural state they will not make a significant difference on the timescales convenient to us (i.e. a 1,000 year cleanup). So we need to at least understand enough to genetically engineer a yugo into a porche, and that isn't exactly easy.

The second catch here is that deep sea life also typically has extremely slow metabolisms to begin with compared to terrestrial organisms. You can't spend energy faster than you take it in, and that's very slow indeed on the ocean floor. Fish down there are adapted to months inbetween feedings and can live for many decades, I can only imagine how slowly these 10 cm blobs eat and reproduce.

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825434)

So, please, please, don't bring them to the surface where there's plenty of energy.

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825990)

Don't worry. The scientists will attack the ones that escape with lasers and an atomic bomb. I saw it in a movie. It must be true.

Re:Heavy metals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37828040)

Yes, I know, what could possibly go wrong...

Tribbles ???

Re:Heavy metals? (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828328)

Well, sort of. Suppose we spill a bunch of mercury all over the ground because we were using it to make bleach for paper and then went out of business and walked away from our factory leaving a few tens of metric tons of raw mercury in vats that corroded through. We bring in a bunch of little critters -- they don't have to be ten centimeters long or single celled, acutually -- that gobble up all of that ugly toxic mercury.

So, now what? You have just as much mercury as before. Only now it is in lots of little bugs, or worms, or bacteria, or whatever. Some of them biologically convert the liquid metal mercury into biologically active and dangerous forms where liquid mercury itself is actually relatively safe. But nothing they do gets rid of the mercury itself, or even binds it up in a truly safe form.

The problem with Uranium, or Plutonium is the same, only more so. You can't make it go away, and putting it inside of a life form only makes it potentially portable or biologically more active and hence dangerous.

Fantasy exceptions might be bacteria that eat certain toxic compounds and break them down into other non-toxic compounds -- perhaps transforming PCBs into salt and sugar or something else nifty and harmless -- but nothing's going to make lead, or mercury, or uranium into a nutrient, and very few things will be able to metabolize them into a (relatively) biologically inactive form.

rgb

If only Bill Watterson was still writing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824336)

For some reason Calvin and Hobbes came to mind.

Largest single cells (4, Interesting)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824340)

What about ostrich eggs?

Re:Largest single cells (2)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824378)

Came here to say this, not sure if an egg properly qualifies as an organism.

Re:Largest single cells (2)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824560)

Came here to say this, not sure if an egg properly qualifies as an organism.

Ostrich egg+sperm immediately after fertilization.
(Still doesn't count, because the organisms typical life cycle does not have it staying as a single cell.)

Re:Largest single cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824714)

yeah, and un-born babies are parasites... XD

Re:Largest single cells (2)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827060)

It also doesn't count because the ostrich egg, like any other bird egg, contains, but is not, the egg which turns into an embryo. The vast majority of that egg is a food dump for the chick.

Re:Largest single cells (2)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826400)

An ostrich egg does classify as a cell, be it in the haploid (unfertilized) or diploid (fertilized) state. If fertilized, it is also a developing organism. So yes, it qualifies. Not sure if an ostrich egg is 10 cm or not, but I suspect it's pretty close,...

Re:Largest single cells (3, Informative)

rish87 (2460742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824498)

An egg is not one giant cell. The actual cell, the ovum, is as tiny as your own (roughly speaking). What you see of the egg is the yolk and albumin which are there to feed the embryo as it goes.

Re:Largest single cells (2)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824604)

An ostrich egg is 13-15 centimeters [wikipedia.org] and is considered a cell; however, I think the scientists here are referring to this species being the largest single-celled organism. The ostrich egg isn't an organism and, IMO, doesn't qualify as life since it doesn't consume energy, reproduce, etc, but simply provides and environment for the multicelluar life to grow within it. It is definitely a single-cell, however, and so the article is technically inaccurate in its verbiage.

Re:Largest single cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825408)

you are incorrect. The egg itself is not a cell. ( as it has not DNA of it's own) but when examined contains a cell ( bounded by a cell membrane and containing a nucleolus) ... the rest of the the egg is protein that is used to provide nutrition for the growth of the cell.

Re:Largest single cells (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825484)

Wikipedia says that these xenophyophore can get up to 20 cm in size [wikipedia.org] , You're not going to let Wikipedia get away with that right?

Now now... (4, Funny)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825834)

Let's not get into that whole "who's xenophyophore is longer" thing, guys.

Re:Now now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37828880)

That has _got_ to be picked up by some fortune.

Re:Largest single cells (1)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825860)

An ostrich egg is 13-15 centimeters [wikipedia.org] and is considered a cell

No it isn't! Have you not done any biology or science at school whatsoever? It's an egg, it's an organism, but it's millions and millions of cells!

Re:Largest single cells (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826864)

At what time? I think the question is.

Re:Largest single cells (2)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824622)

What about ostrich eggs?

The single-cell "egg" (zygote? that doesn't sound like the right term...) inside that egg is still microscopic and can't be seen with the unaided eye. No where near 1 mm, let alone 1 or 10 cm.

The rest of the stuff making up the egg (shell, yolk-food, and other fluids), is more than one cell.

Re:Largest single cells (4, Interesting)

assantisz (881107) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826312)

Technically, the yolk is part of the "egg cell". The white and everything else within (besides the yolk) and including the shell is not. The only thing that is special about the yolk is that it does not partake in cell division if the egg is fertilized. There are no other cells within an egg. The white and the shell are not made from cells. All that said, I doubt, though, that the yolk of an ostrich egg is bigger than 20cm.

Mod parent up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37827054)

Mod parent up for the answer to why eggs count as single-celled organisms?

Re:Largest single cells (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824978)

An ostrich egg isn't an organism. The title goes to the Caulerpa [wikipedia.org] , a kind of seaweed whose single cell can grow up to a meter in length.

Re:Largest single cells (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37827242)

Pfft, I have cells a meter long.

Re:Largest single cells (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828310)

Of course, many fungi are multi-nucleic, and form connections between the cells, essentially turning the entire thing into a single cell. And fungi can be huge.

Re:Largest single cells (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828508)

Slime Mold is more interesting as during their development there are moments when the whole slime mold is a single cell, but with thousands of nuclei, which stretches the concept of a cell to its boundaries.

Re:Largest single cells (1)

schizz69 (1239560) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825424)

They are not diploid organisms, they are an haploid egg.

Can we call them Dwarf Bandersnatchi? (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824364)

Please?

Re:Can we call them Dwarf Bandersnatchi? (1)

cowtamer (311087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824830)

That's the FIRST thing that came to my mind! Perhaps it is best that they live 10,000 meters below the surface...

Re:Can we call them Dwarf Bandersnatchi? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828516)

The Tnuctipun must have been here at some point,

R.I.P. Vulcan Comrades (1)

HatofPig (904660) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824366)

We must find a way to neutralise the xenophyophores resistance to heavy metal before it can do to us what it did to the Intrepid. Quickly, slingshot George Carlin around the sun so he can find us William S. Preston and Theodore Logan!

It's the Leviathan! (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824428)

You guys have read the Illuminatus! trilogy, right?

But can they handle silver? (1)

E.I.A (2303368) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824456)

If they can pass through a plume of silver ions unscathed, I'll be impressed - not that I'm not already.

Summary is a misquote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824488)

The article says

Scientists say xenophyophores are among the largest individual cells in existence.

I don't know if that was an addition made after the story was submitted here, or if it was intentionally removed, but there you go.

Mixing metric and imperial (4, Informative)

jeorgen (84395) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824530)

It's good to see Slashdot use the metric system, in this case centimeters, to describe the size of the animal, but it gets a bit confusing when it is combined with giving the depth it is found at in miles.

Re:Mixing metric and imperial (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825364)

Fair point, but I'm just pleased they didn't use fathoms. What are they, four and seven eights hogsheads?

Re:Mixing metric and imperial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825918)

The unit of measure for these is attoParsecs. It's right around 3.4.

Oh yes? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824564)

"They also are well suited to a life of darkness, low temperature and high pressure in the deep sea."

Oh yes? Well... they better should be suited for that if they live in the Mariana Trench!!

D'oh!

Re:Oh yes? (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825178)

Oh yes? Well... they better should be suited for that if they live in the Mariana Trench!!

Sheesh. And I thought they'd be well suited to sun bathing and the vacuum of space. Nature is one huge surprise after another.

Trying to come up with a rigorous definition of well adapted blows my mind. Although I can recall some classmates who were better adapted to junior high school that I was or aspired to be; perhaps "well adapted" hints at sad and pathetic when encountered later in life.

Re:Oh yes? (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827610)

"They also are well suited to a life of darkness, low temperature and high pressure in the deep sea."

Oh yes? Well... they better should be suited for that if they live in the Mariana Trench!!

D'oh!

No no, you misunderstand. They're literally suited for it... by wearing tiny little pressure suits.

Largest single cell is NOT this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824598)

The largest single celled organism on the planet is the ostrich egg: on average they are 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long, 13 centimetres (5.1 in) wide

Re:Largest single cell is NOT this (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824950)

The ostrich egg isn't an organism; the Caulerpa [wikipedia.org] , on the other hand, is. Up to a meter in length.

So, get to the point, how does it taste? (3, Funny)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824812)

Could just be the next new item for celebrity chefs and sushi restaurants.

Re:So, get to the point, how does it taste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825924)

Taste like chicken favored jello?

For some reason... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824864)

It doesn't surprise me all that much that the fattest single-celled organism on the planet lives in the deepest, darkest place on Earth and is a fan of heavy metal.

Re:For some reason... (3, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826410)

OMG! We finally found CowboyNeal's mom! :-)

How are they not preyed upon? (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824902)

Did they develop this as a defense mechanism against predators, who presumably aren't immune to their toxic cell plasma? Also, the cell membrane must be pretty thick? (or my intuitive understanding of the effect of pressure on things at that depth pretty lousy.)

Re:How are they not preyed upon? (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828334)

I don't think the pressure really affects the thickness of cell membrane needed, the pressure within the cell is the same as the pressure outside the cell, so the cell membrane doesn't have to withstand any pressure. It does affect which lipids to use in the cell membrane, they need to be liquid (for a quite weird definition of liquid), and the melting points will be higher ion the high-pressure environment.

have they found George W Bush (2)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824960)

down there???

Re:have they found George W Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825600)

No, just his brain...

No. (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825890)

We're talking about large microorganisms, not microscopic ones.

10 cm are nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824968)

Even humans contain cells more than a meter long.

And if you look for single cell organisms, several meters are no problem either. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caulerpa [wikipedia.org] ).

Perhaps if you only count single-cell mature organisms with at most one nucleus...

Re:10 cm are nothing (1)

DeusExInfernus (2041722) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825066)

Even humans contain cells more than a meter long.

Emm, say what?!

those scientists had better be careful... (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825024)

These are giant amoebas! I think HP Lovecraft warned about giant bags of protoplasm from deep beneath the sea like these.

Yes, by all means, bring those infant shoggoth up here for study... preferably in heavily populated areas!

Genetically engineer them? Sure! What could possibly go wrong?!

(Note, this is meant to be funny.)

Re:those scientists had better be careful... (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825384)

Wrong? I don't know, but some cultures believe that Sea Urchin tastes great; and the difference is minimal. Burger King,("have it your way"), you've got to love the irony.

Re:those scientists had better be careful... (1)

idbeholda (2405958) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825642)

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” H.P. Lovecraft

We'll see who's laughing when those experiments go horribly awry.

Re:those scientists had better be careful... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37826014)

We'll see who's laughing when those experiments go horribly awry.

Me, I'll be laughing. And stroking my white cat. In my volcano lair.

This is clearly a fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825368)

Space Nutters have told me this planet is just "a rock" and that to continue the grand human experience of exploration, we must go into space, since everything about the Earth, sorry, mud ball, is already known.

This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825586)

I've seen many organisms at the surface that absorb heavy metal and operate on a single brain cell. My cousin is one.

DropCam is SO COOL! (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825896)

I mean it's like a reverse space probe (goes down instead of up) but it makes a "soft" landing and then "liftoff" to return to orbit (I mean the recovery ship). Because (I think) it's not tethered it's completely autonomous which makes it like a Mars probe in the sense that all landing decisions must be done without human intervention (because in the case of the Mars probe, the 10 min. delay makes real time control impossible).

It's really too bad that there are no (?) feasible ways of communicating with it short of a fiber-optic cable. At a minimum 6 miles run length, I suppose this would greatly add to the complexity and cost of the mission. But maybe I'm wrong about this, what "high" bandwidth wireless solutions are there for transmitting underwater? I've seen SCUBA divers communicating with full face masks, do they use some sort of hydro-sonic transceiver? Would this work over a distance of miles? Unlike military applications, there's no need for stealth so maybe there are some overlooked solutions.

Re:DropCam is SO COOL! (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827032)

I wonder if you might use sound, but from a phased-array emitter, as is done in modern radar. IIRC, low sound frequencies propagate well in seawater and the higher the frequency, the greater the attenuation. From bandwidth perspective, you'd like to use a higher frequency. The phased-array emitter would let you concentrate the sound into a narrow beam to help overcome attenuation. Maybe some kind of cooperative emitter/DropCam interaction could help keep the beam on target as the camera descends and rises. I agree, DropCam is very cool!

if a single cell organism is 10 centimeters (1)

Cito (1725214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826276)

That's a 10 centimeter long cell, imagine a multicellular creature hiding in the depths of the trench with cells this size :)

we could have the Leviathan mentioned in the bible be a real creature hiding in the depths of the trench or some other giant beast :)

would be cool...

release the kracken!

Beware of large one-celled organisms. (3, Funny)

koelpien (639319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826348)

These can be really dangerous if brought up to the surface. Because their deep habitat has such oppressive pressure, at sea level, they will have excess energy burn, since they are out of their native high-pressure environment. They could even become airborne, seek out humans for our body heat, and take control of their cortical systems. We will slowly go mad, unless Spock saves us.

Xenophyophore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37826520)

Confirmed for metal as F**K.
No other lifeform can compare.

Well... maybe that one guy living off Arsenic. That crazy guy, going to warp his mind one day, I swear.

pre-Cambrian sizes (3, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826660)

Ediacaran-era (pre-Cambrian) life-forms may be single-celled, but many scientists call them "multi-cellular" without question due their size. Since there are no known living relatives of Ediacarans, it's hard to say. Fossils don't preserve enough details. The possibility of them being single-celled is still fairly strong.

So, centimetres or miles? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829694)

The creatures are 10 centimetres long, but live 6 miles underwater? So, what's it gonna be? Metric or American units? At the very least, be consistent!
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